The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) was announced as the winner of “Best Use of Information Technology” category at the 13th World Trade Promotion Organizations Conference and Awards held in Accra, Ghana, on 17 May 2022. MATRADE is recognised for its initiative in organising the first fully virtual edition of the 17th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) in 2021.
According to a statement by the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC), the digitalisation of MIHAS 2021 allowed SME exports in the halal industry to continue growing despite disruptions caused by the pandemic. The virtual showcase opened up new markets and made business connections more convenient and cost-effective, it added.
Since helming the organisation as CEO in December 2020, Mustafa has been instrumental in championing the three significant export agendas for Malaysia – digitalisation, sustainable development, as well as the devised programmes and activities that are aligned with the National Trade Blueprint (NTBp).
“This award symbolises that MATRADE is on the right track in bolstering Malaysian exports. It reflects the international recognition of MATRADE’s efforts in digitalisation initiatives to develop innovative and effective programmes. Such approach had placed MATRADE as the country’s trendsetter and first-mover in spearheading the momentum for Malaysian exporters especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to embrace digitalisation in their trade promotion activities”, he added.
Leveraging on the digital transformation, MATRADE has undertaken numerous initiatives to ensure business continuity for Malaysian exporters by conducting virtual and hybrid trade promotion programmes such as trade fairs, export acceleration missions, virtual business meetings (eBizMatch) and webinars.
“In accordance to the digital initiatives by the Malaysian Government through MATRADE in enhancing Malaysia’s trade competitiveness and exports value, the Integrated Trade Events Platform (ITEP) and Single Information Portal for Exports (SIPE) are being developed after the proposal was approved by the Economic Action Council (EAC) chaired by the YAB Prime Minister last year. Both initiatives will lead to an accelerated adoption of digitalisation, through the establishment of digital business platforms, in tandem with RMKe-12 strategic directions”, Mustafa elaborated.
The World Trade Promotion Organisation (WTPO) Awards and Conference was organised by ITC, a joint agency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations. Held every two years, the ITC collaborates with a national Trade Promotion Organisation (TPO) to host this event.
“The main theme at the 13th WTPO is about sustainability and how innovation as well as digitalisation can lead to sustainable export development and promotion”, stated MATRADE Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Exporters Development) Abu Bakar Yusof who represented MATRADE at the award ceremony.
“The award reflects a comprehensive digitalisation initiative that MATRADE undertakes and MIHAS is the evident. MATRADE swiftly pivoted to digital platforms to ensure business continuity amid pandemic”, Abu Bakar explained.
The theme for the WTPO Awards 2022 is ‘Bold Solutions for Resilience and Recovery’. The event is held biennially and according to the organiser, this year’s event is guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It outlines the efforts of trade and investment organisations in addressing business survival and competitiveness, and support trade-led growth while serving their communities and protecting the planet.